12/09/15: AT&T CEO hints at upcoming streaming service; Amazon launches Partners Platform; Disney raises investment stake in Vice to $400 million



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
12.09.15

Good morning. It’s Wednesday December 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TOP NEWS

 
Does AT&T have a mobile entertainment service in the works? Yesterday at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, company CEO Randall Stephenson hinted as much, saying that the company is interested in reaching consumers on mobile devices, as well as on screens not connected to standard TV services. Stephenson even said AT&T intents to “turn some heads” in January with a new service that will include “new capabilities [and] integrated products.”

 

VC FUNDING + INVESTORS

 
Walt Disney Co.
just can’t enough Vice. Only weeks after investing $200 million in the digital news giant, Disney has tacked on the dollars, doubling its investment to $400 million – good for a 10% stake in the company. The news was first reported by The Financial Times.
 
Interlude is raking in the dough. The interactive video company just announced an $18.2 million funding round. Participants included MGM, Samsung, and Warner Music. 

 

OTT + SVOD

 
Sub-Sarahan Africa boasts roughly 250 million French speakers. (That’s over 150 million more than France, by the way.) And the African continent has become increasingly mobile-friendly in recent years. All things considered, it’s easy to see why French studio and distributor Canal Plus Group has teamed with iROKO to launch a mobile-first subscription streaming service in French-speaking Africa. The service, featuring French-language TV content delivered via a mobile-first Android app, will roll out in the coming months.
 
Let the digital bundling begin. Amazon has rolled out its new Streaming Partners Platform, an initiative aimed at incorporating other companies’ streaming services into the Amazon streaming package. Among the initial partners (more than 20 to begin with) are Showtime, Starz, and SundanceNow. Users can add the new subscription services through the Amazon video app on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, and Roku. If you only have access to Chromecast or AppleTV (neither of which is on the list), then not to worry: Viewers can also use their Amazon credentials to log into the stand-alone apps of the participating SVOD services.
 
Comedian Chelsea Handler walks a fine line between determined professional and all-out mess. Her new four-part Netflix docu-series, Chelsea Does, is set to exhibit the best and worst sides of her personality (and she wouldn’t be Chelsea Handler without both). Netflix has set a premiere date: The series will debut on platform January 23, shortly after it premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.
 


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NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
The kid-friendly animation studio and distributor 9 Story Media Group announced several new licensing deals in Asia-Pacific countries:
 
Da Vinci Media acquired pay TV and SVOD rights to live action series Artzooka and Look Kool for multiple Asian territories including Hong Kong and South Korea.
 
TVB (Hong Kong) licensed preschool series Peg + Cat along with the second season of Wild Kratts
 
GoodTV (Taiwan) acquired the first two seasons of Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood
 
TVNZ (New Zealand) licensed multiple programs, including the first two seasons of the animated preschool series Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs for its 24 hour Kidzone children’s channel, and the first seasons of the animated comedies Camp Lakebottom and Numb Chucks for its free-to-air service TV2.
 
 

ESPORTS

 
Game on. At this January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Turner Sports will be pitting two teams against one another in a best-of-three Counter Strike: Global Offensive battle royale. Coverage of the match-up will live-stream on the FACEIT channel on Twitch, and the tournament winner will be invited to participate in Turner and WME|IMG’s new ELeague, which will debut next year.

 

RESEARCH

 
The ListenFirst Television Interest (TVI) Rating is a standardized measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. A complement to ListenFirst’s other syndicated data products (such as the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating are the purest form of showing interest digitally, since they’re organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on  Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
 
STREAMING SERIES (11/30/15 – 12/6/15)

Series/TVI:
Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix)/
2.73
The Man In the High Castle (Amazon)/1.60
Community (Yahoo)/0.65
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)/0.44
Daredevil (Netflix)/0.43
Master of None (Netflix)/0.37
Narcos (Netflix)/0.34
Sense8 (Netflix)/0.34
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Netflix)/0.34
House of Cards (Netflix)/0.33

Source:ListenFirst. The TVI Rating aggregates metrics that measure organically generated activity by fans of the TV show. The metric includes total volume of official hashtag mentions on Facebook,Google+, and Tumblr, along with Wikipedia page views (as a proxy for organic search volume) for a show as a percentage of the total volume of the same activities for all shows.

Is TV ad revenue about to play second fiddle to its digital counterpart? The marketing consulting and investing firm Magna Global sure seems to think so. Their newest study projected that global digital advertising revenue will surpass traditional TV ad revenue by 2017. In the U.S., Magna Global projects that the switch will happen by 2016. Learn more about the study here.   
 
Do you use the Internet? Then odds are you use Netflix or YouTube (or both). The networking technology company Sandvine found that the two sites combined to account for 55% of all downstream Internet traffic in North America during the months of September and October. Learn more here.
 
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
Refinery29
has elevated Amy Emmerich to the position of Chief Content Officer, a newly created position. Emmerich will be responsible for driving content strategy and distribution. Previously, Emmerich held the title of EVP, Programming.


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
Controversial Instagrammer Josh “Fat Jew” Ostrovsky has teamed up with Maker Studios to launch Story Time With The Fat Jew, a new web series. The first installment, about sending care packages to incarcerated rappers, is oddly heartwarming. Check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
12.09.15

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